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Pottery Barn Kids Inspired Easter Plaque DIY

I pretty much love all things Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids.  Sometimes I wish I could jump in the catalog and live on the pages.  The decor and furnishings are just so cozy!  What I do not love are the crazy price tags.  Most people that live in the real world can’t afford to buy every piece from them (and probably wouldn’t want to).  That’s why I love sites like Ana White’s and Knock off Decor.  They offer the Pottery Barn (and other brand names) look for less with building plans and tutorials.

After perusing the new spring line from Pottery Barn Kids, I decided to jump on the tutorial band wagon and make an inspired Easter Chalkboard Plaque.

For those of you that have a Cameo this will be a relatively easy DIY.  If you don’t, that’s ok, you just have to do more by hand.  Without further ado, may I present my Chalkboard Plaque.

Some of the supplies:

Now for the tutorial.

The first thing I did was find the shapes that I wanted to use with my Cameo.

I used the bracket on the bottom left and deleted the other two. After making sure I was on the 12×12 setting, I enlarged the bracket as much as possible.  

I then highlighted the entire image and separated the inner and outer bracket, moving the outer bracket off the cut grid.

I then loaded my chalkboard vinyl (Two things: 1. I already had some on hand from a Michael’s Clearance but the link should work fine just the same. 2. I had to cut mine down to size because it was too wide anyway.  So I cut out a 12×12 sheet from my roll.) onto the mat and into the machine.

The next thing I did was use the print and cut feature for Peter Rabbit.  Lucky for me I bought a ton of the Peter Rabbit shapes during the Black Friday Sale so I already had the one I decided to use! (The print and cut is awesome!  I love it!.)

I made Peter as big as possible, set up my registration marks to print, and printed it out on the computer.  I used white card stock (I used 81/2×11 since that’s what my printer prints) and loaded it onto the cutting mat.

When you use the registration marks, it cuts the image out for you.  Such a time saver!

Next I asked my awesomely awesome hubby if he would pretty please cut out a piece of wood in the bracket shape for me to mount my card stock on (our garage was a mess and he knew where things were and would be able to cut it out faster then I would).

First he traced out where he would cut it and then used a jigsaw to cut it out (sorry I don’t have any pictures but he did it when I wasn’t home. He used this).  I then sanded it down and whipped out my paint.  I just used a basic white acrylic and painted around the outside. (The top right picture was me getting excited!) I used a basic black to do the sides (though you can’t really see it).

After applying like 3 or 4 coats and waiting for them to dry, I removed the backing on the vinyl and applied it to the board (I had to reposition a few times to get it right). I used a spray adhesive to attach Peter and added twine to the back so it could hang. I then used a chalk pen (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon) to write “Egg Hunt”.

Here is the final product:

and another:

I hope you liked it! My total cost was $0.00 (I had everything on hand). Pottery Barn’s cost $49.00. I love saving money!

I would love to see if you make one!

Linking up at:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Awesome Craigslist Find!

Greg and I will have been married 8 years in March. Up until December 2011, we had never bought a couch.  When we first got married we were given 20 year old couches that we bought slipcovers for and used for a few years.  We then were given couches by a friend from work and used those for another few years.

After my dad sold his house, he offered his couches to my brother and myself.  I didn’t want them, but my brother did.  So we made a compromise.  While my brother didn’t have his own place and a need for couches, we would use my dad’s at our place (getting rid of our own), and when my brother needed his we would buy our own.

Well, back in November my brother got a job and a place to live in Texas and we were left to find a couch.  Thankfully we had one that we could use (from the play room) until we found one we liked.

Now, I would have loved to buy a brand new couch from Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware, but it just didn’t make sense to pay $3,000+ on a couch.  I really wanted a white couch and that makes NO sense with little kids (unless it’s slipcovered and then you can take it off and bleach it in the wash).

I began scouring Craigslist for a couch/chair combo, couch/love seat combo, or a sectional. A problem with living in a medium size town is the options are more limited and sometimes prices are higher then what you would pay in a larger city (supply and demand people!).

After about 6 weeks of looking for what I WANTED (not settling-at least, not completely), I found a sectional that had a lot of what I wanted.  The back cushions have to be attached (after having a 3 year old knock them off my brothers couch numerous times it was a must)- Check.  I don’t want microfiber (This was negotiable, but I REALLY didn’t want microfiber.  A nice canvas or twill would have been great.  In the pictures this one looked microfiber but we went and saw it anyway, and I am so glad we did because it wasn’t!)- Check. Rounded arms were a must have- non negotiable- Check.  No chaise attached (it wouldn’t work with the layout of our room)- Check.  A nice neutral color so I can bring awesome colors in when I repainted- Check (though I would have liked a lighter, more tan color).  I will say, however, it’s nice to have a darker couch with the amount of people we have coming through our house (less room for stains!) Firm but comfortable cushions- Check.  We didn’t want it to sit on the floor.  We wanted legs of some kind- Check.  The only thing I had to compromise on was color.  I was so stoked!

Without further ado- our new paid for with cash off Craigslist couch! (Did I mention it was only 2 years old and hardly ever used in an upstairs loft by the previous owner who did NOT own cats- we have allergies.  Yes!!!)

The very best part?! We got it for…wait for it…wait for it…$310.  Yup.  You read that right. $3-1-0.  No extra 0 at the end.  Even better? My mom gave us $250 for Christmas to put toward a couch. That means we paid $60 out of pocket. Praise Jesus!

All that to say, if you are looking for something in particular, don’t compromise (much).  You just have to be patient and diligent.  It also helps to know specifically what you want and what you are willing to negotiate on.  Also know how much you want to spend and realize that if there is a GREAT deal, it’s better just to pay the amount asked- trust me.  When things are priced right they sell faster then hotcakes at IHOP on pancake day.

What’s the best Craigslist deal you have ever found?

Robot Baby Shower (Because I sort of failed to post these in 2010…)

This was the 3rd dessert table/full on party I ever did (with the help of my girl Ofelia and a ton of other women from church).  I had planned on posting these a year and a half ago but never got around to it.  Lisa (the mom-of-honor) wanted robots so we gave her robots.  We did a gray and yellow color scheme that was similar to what they were doing for the nursery.  

For the food we served a build your own crepe bar as well as croissants, deli meats, bacon (because every party needs bacon- can I get an amen?), lots of beautiful fresh fruit, and personal sized, square quiche lorraine (using these awesome muffin tins).

For the drinks we served Trader Joe’s Sparkling Berry Lemonade (it is one of my all time favorite party drinks), coffee, virgin mimosas (7-Up and Orange Juice), and water in adorable mini water bottles. We made water bottle labels, straw flags and wine charms with a robot graphic my hubby put together.

For the desserts we served donuts, chocolate caramel covered apples, awesome robot cupcakes (made by Lisa’s sister-in-law and her niece and nephew), robot sugar cookies, robot cake pops, robot chocolate pops, lemon cakes and chocolate dipped marshmallows.  That was my second attempt at icing sugar cookies so judge too harshly.  The robot cake pops were my first time trying to do a non-traditional cake pop also (and it was before Bakerella’s book came out-I was going off the cover).

Anyway, sorry it took so long to post.  Hope you enjoyed!


Updating the Play Room

Sorry for being MIA last week.  We caught a cold/sinus thing and I just have not felt up to blogging.

For awhile now I have loved this nursery.

I love the colors and I love the forward facing bookshelves.

So after seeing these plans from Ana White, we decided to use some wood that had been in the garage for awhile and whip them up (well, I should say Greg did).

Here is Greg installing the shelves. (Yes those are SkippyJon Jones books- and yes, they are probably some of the funniest children’s books of all time- thanks Gloriane for turning us on to them!)















Here is the finished wall. We love the shelves, but are probably going to go back and add a lip so the kids can’t run their arm over them and knock the books off.

I L-O-V-E Panini’s!

So I’m pretty sure I have committed the cardinal sin of food blogging.  I forgot to get an amazing after picture!  I apologize up front for being so lame.  I had a lunch meeting with some wedding coordinators from church and we had panini’s.  Since I was hungry and we were only half hazardly documenting the process with pictures, I will have to rely on your imaginations and the pictures I did get.

I happened to come across these panini’s a few years ago.  My mom brought me a sandwich from her friends house that had meat (turkey or roast beef, I can’t remember!) green apples, a little mustard and goat cheese.  To say it was bliss is an understatement.  I had never thought to put goat cheese on a sandwich before that moment and let me tell you, lesson learned!  It is amazing people, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  The creamy goodness mixed with the crunch of tart apples and a little spice from dijon mustard.  So. Stinking. Good.

With a review like that you would think it couldn’t get any better right? Wrong! Greg and I decided to throw our own had into the mix and added caramelized onions.  Really awesome. Without further ado- our un-named but awesomely delicious lunch.

The suspects:

First things first, heat some olive oil (or butter if you are feeling bad…) in a skillet until it’s hot (or melted).  Slice your onion into long strings and place in the skillet.  Cook until they are translucent and slightly browned.  (I’m sure there are better ways, but this is how we do it!)

Next, slice your apples into thin pieces.  It makes it easier to lay on your sandwich and more enjoyable to bite into.

Unfortunately, I am a nerd and forgot to get the second most important picture in food blogging.  The bread. So just imagine freshly baked artisan bread in Sour Dough, Rosemary or Garlic.  So delicious! Slice your bread in the thickness you want it.  I prefer mine at about the same thickness as regular sandwich bread.  I like the bread to ingredients ratio to be about the same.

After cooking the onions, slicing the apples and slicing the bread it’s time to assemble!  In the picture below the goat cheese underneath the apples.  Dijon mustard coats the right piece of bread with caramelized onions on that.  Then add your meat (not pictured because, I am again lame) and make the two become one.

Now you can either put it on your panini maker, or if you don’t have one, use a skillet!.  You want to leave it on long enough to warm the goat cheese and toast the bread. We generally don’t butter or oil the bread, but if you don’t mind the extra calories, it is awesomely delicious to do.  Just remember to do it before adding any ingredients.

That’s it!  This is the part I would have an awesome after picture for you, but alas, we are all out of luck today.  Oh well!  I hope you enjoy!

My Cochlear Story Part 4

Hopefully this post will bring us up to date on my story.  Recovery has been hard.  Part of my hair was shaved off for the surgery (superficial I know, but part of the story…plus I have a picture for it :)), I had intense pain and fatigue for probably a month or so,  and I had terrible vertigo for awhile (though it rears its ugly head from time to time).  Perhaps the worst, hardest part of the recovery process has been the “loss” (for lack of a better word) of my tastebuds on half of my tongue.  At times it felt numb, and other (most) times I have a strong metallic taste in my mouth.

Have you ever licked a pole?  Put a penny in your mouth? If you answered yes, you know how I feel.  If you answered yes, I have to ask you…Why?!  Why would you lick a pole? Why put a penny in your mouth. That’s gross. 🙂 Seriously though, it’s like I am in a constant state of sucking on a penny.

Anyhow…back to the story.  As a self professed foodie it really sucks not being able to enjoy a fullness of flavors.  It seems as though my mouth is living in a manic depressive state.  Things are either really bland or they are over the top (with the metallic taste added in the mix for some adventure).  My doctor says it should come back, but I’ve heard/read that can take 6-8 months (and years for some people).  Two months down…how many more to go?  Prayers appreciated.

November 30, 2011:
I was (in Cochlear speak) activated.  It was, well, crazy.  Greg was there, as was my friend (and hearing aid audiologist) Carol.  My (cochlear) audiologist, Chris, hooked me up to the computer and “activated” me.  I was so pent up with emotion, when I heard the beeps and tones I broke down in very unladylike sobs.  They gave me Kleenex and let me compose myself and then she actually turned it on.

Yep.  You read that right.  I still had my hearing aid on, and I was informed by my husband after we left that she hadn’t activated me, I had heard the computer booting up through my hearing aid.  I was a little embarrassed.  You won’t be seeing that video on YouTube.

So after she actually turned me on (don’t get all dirty minded here people!) I did actually hear some beeps and tones.  I also had pain.  Inside my head.  Not pertaining to the surgery.  For whatever reason I was super sensitive to the sound, and Chris had to change the mapping WAY down.  Sorry I can’t explain this better, but basically, I hadn’t had nerve stimulation in so long that she had to turn the electrodes down to a bare minimum to allow my nerves time to adjust to sound coming in.  See, it’s like this:

On the far left you will notice the dB.  That’s the decibel level, or loudness.  Across the top are the Hertz, or the low to high frequencies.  125Hz is deep, base like tones.  8000Hz are super high pitched tones (like a whistle).  That banana you see is called the speech banana.  That is where most people hear.  She had to take my mapping down to like the 90 or 100 area (I’m not really sure since I didn’t ask.  It could have only been the 70 0r 80 for all I know).  We have been working over the last few months to bump it up to the 0-20 area.  We aren’t there yet and prayers would be appreciated.

As of my last appointment, I was in the 30-40 area with 15 electrodes on.  That might sound great, but since there are 22 electrodes on the implant, I’m missing some of what I could potentially benefit from.  I know this all sounds really confusing, but what it basically means is, it’s taking time.

As I stated in Parts 1 and 2, I truly believe I was supposed to have this surgery.  The path was paved too divinely for it to not have been God showing me this was His will.  It’s been a hard path.  It’s been painful.  But it’s also been beautiful.  I have a “fuller” sense of hearing now.  On my last visit to see Chris we tested my hearing, and my single word scores before the surgery were 28% and now they are 44%.  It’s been only 2 months and there is evidence of God’s grace!  Thank you Jesus!

When I went into this I asked Chris what the success rate was for people that had this surgery.  She didn’t have numbers.  She explained that each person is unique and have different measures of success.  For one woman, it was hearing her husband at dinner again.  For another man, it was hearing his granddaughter say, “I love you”.

As for me, well, success will be understanding my sons speaking to me from the backseat in the car.  I pray that the day comes, but even if it doesn’t, I know that God is great.  He knows the plans He has for me.  Plans to give me hope and a future.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride and I look forward to sharing more triumphs and  failures along the way!